The Unreliable Narrator

by Andrew Dufresne
Wild Poetry Forum
Second Place, November 2018
Judged by Jeanette Beebe


I once killed a man said he could fly.
He was a liar who could only whistle.
I’m going to swim the Irish channel. Why?
I’m constant as a North Korean missile.

My lovers bake cakes edged with old barbed wire.
They send them soaked in high-test gasoline.
I have this null affect. I have this fire.
But I can’t burn because I am too green.

Come with me where flies sing lullabies,
Taught them by inch worms. Worms of guile.
The one who never fails? He never tries.
The flies pretend. The worms defend your smile.

Look over there. That’s the important thing.
Truth is for the wealthy. You get lies.
You’ll understand this better when you’re king.
But I am now. Look deep into my eyes.


The voice and tone of this narrator is arresting and strange, and the poem wraps around and explores the edges of its titular idea compellingly. The syntax is shrewd and punchy, which works well. The rhyme scheme enhances the experience — especially the turn of "guile" and "smile." It truly beguiles. --Jeanette Beebe

  • June 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      Song for Picnic Ants
      by Andrew Dufresne
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Second Place

      Fragile
      by Kendall Witherspoon
      The Waters

      Third Place

      Good Friday, St. Peter’s Anglican, The East Bronx
      by Christine Potter
      The Waters

  • May 2019 Winners

    • First Place

      I think of the colour purple
      by Alison Armstrong-Webber
      The Waters

      Second Place

      Swimming in Twilight
      by Peter Halpin
      Wild Poetry Forum

      Third Place

      In another country with strangers
      by Greta Bolger
      The Waters